School Nurse Creates Trailblazers Project to Get All Students Moving

March 16, 2011 | Written By:

by Lana Buseman

Last week, we shared the story of school nurse Luisa Ramirez, whose creative strategies got students at Lily Lake Grade School excited about washing their hands. Today, we're excited to report on another fun and very successful initiative that Luisa leads: the Trailblazers project.

Lily Lake Trailblazers is a project that encourages students to exercise by rewarding them with themed tokens each month.  School leaders built a 1/6 mile mulch walking trail on school grounds that students use to earn their tokens. For every five miles students walk, they receive a token that is typically themed based on the month; for example, hearts in February and shamrocks in March.

School nurse Luisa Ramirez, who is also the leading figure behind Lily Lake’s Scrub Club, has worked with her colleagues to make the Trailblazers project a success. School secretary Teresa McMahon “has given countless hours and encourages students in this quest,” said Ramirez.

Students are allowed to use the walking trail during their free time or recess. The Trailblazers project became so popular that the PTA raised money to widen the trail and repave it with limestone.

“Last year we had five students reach 100 miles during the school year,” said Ramirez.

There are no food based rewards for this club, and students are excited to receive their tokens each month. Ramirez said that some teachers will take their classes out to the trail to walk half a mile before a big test because they find it helps students concentrate.

“This week is ISATs week, and in the past teachers have brought their students out to walk a couple laps before and after a long ISAT test,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez says that the Trailblazers project has been a great activity for kids to get involved in, especially if they aren’t interested in joining sports teams.

“Every school has students who can’t join groups like soccer or football. This gives students an opportunity to compete against other classmates or even compete against themselves.” said Ramirez. “They have really taken this on because it’s a way for them to set goals to reach.”

Congratulations to Luisa Ramirez, Teresa McMahon and the parents at Lily Lake Grade School for encouraging their students to be active and inspired through the Trailblazers project!

Plus! Click here to read about another school's walking club that takes places indoors!

Lily Lake Grade School in Maple Park, IL

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